No On One

October 9th, 2014

Better than Mississippi or Arkansas, better than Kentucky or Alabama or Georgia, better than our neighboring states and better than most of the 50 states, a woman’s right – and a family’s right – to privacy is better protected in Tennessee, the right to decide what’s best for them.

They deserve nothing less.

As published in The Daily News, October 10, 2014, and in The Memphis News, October 11-17, 2014

(photo: Clergy against Amendment One at Evergreen Presbyterian Church)



The Tennessee General Assembly is 83% male – and those big, strong men in the majority are convinced they know what’s best for the little ladies in the minority, in fact, what’s best for all the women of Tennessee.

If Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris wanted, say, a vasectomy - think he’d be okay if he had to ask House Speaker Beth Harwell for permission? If Germantown Senator Brian Kelsey needed, you never know, a shot of testosterone - think he’d like it if he had to go to Mt. Juliet Senator Mae Beavers for the needle? If Collierville Republican Rep. Curry Todd were to become, hypothetically, infected with some STD – think he’d be pleased if Democratic senate candidate Sara Kyle made him live with it?

Do you think they’d be happy if what happened to their bodies and families became the judgment of a 15-year-old girl in inner city Memphis pregnant by her uncle, or an east Memphis housewife pregnant as the result of a brutal attack, or any woman faced with living or dying as the result of her decision, her decision?

NO, hell no, not for one macho second would any of the men in the state legislature pushing for Amendment One accept it if the examining tables were turned - if decisions about their health were made by women politicians or strangers of either sex or by anybody but them, if the most personal and private of matters were to become the subject of public debate - if how the rest of their lives were to be lived were discussed not in doctors’ offices, or ministers’ offices, or in homes but in Nashville.

If all the self-righteous people who see their own belief as absolute, who would make that narrow view a part of our state constitution, who would dare speak for God, were asked to make sharia law the law of Tennessee - think they’d all drop to their knees and face Mecca?

NO, Lord no, not for one blessed moment would any of those who would use Amendment One to dictate to every woman what God and Tennessee will allow her to decide allow any other belief system to dictate to them.

In tragic irony, a specialty of state government, the most conservative among us, those who most loathe the intrusion of government in our lives, would amend our constitution to invite government into the wombs of women in Tennessee. Those who claim to most cherish privacy and individual rights would amend our constitution to reduce our privacy and reduce women to something less by right.

At last week’s gathering at Evergreen Presbyterian Church of pastors, ministers and priests opposed to Amendment One, Rabbi Micah Greenstein - as usual - put it very well:

“I’m not in the pro-life or pro-choice camp; I’m in the let’s-take-a-woman’s-health-decisions-out-of-the-government’s-hands camp.”

NO to Amendment One.

I’m a Memphian, and what’s between a woman and her physician, her family and her God is none of my business. Or yours.




I'm a Memphian by Dan Conaway

If you don’t read it, I’ll read it to you.

The book is available in print online and all over town and now in audio online at Amazon, Audible and iTunes, read by the author – columns, comments and character references for a city filled with it and often absolutely full of it. Take a look or a listen.



Mary Loveless: Well-said, Dan, as usual. Rabbi Greenstein's got nothing on you.

Mary : But if Mark Norris were going to get a vasectomy, the physician's clinic would be subject to inspections and regulations and you would be informed of all the risks and side effects...

Patty Towery: absolutely, positively, u.r.right

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